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flat growing weeds

Flat growing weeds

Are they definitively different from plants we buy at garden centres?

A plant expert answers questions about every gardener’s nemesis

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It really comes down to hard work. Hand pulling is my go-to control method — I like to provide some irrigation or wait until after a good rain to pull weeds while the soil is moist so the pulling is easier. Also, try to find time to pull weeds regularly as the smaller they are, the easier they will be to remove. Timing of pulling some weeds is also critical. You want to ensure you pull them before they set seed so that the problem isn't persistent. Also, remove all pulled weed debris from the garden and do not incorporate it into your compost bin. Other methods of control can be used at the proper time of year (and some with guidance recommended) including: cultivating and tilling the soil, solarisation (using polyethylene sheets laid on the soil surface to cook the weeds and their seeds); adding nutrients (as many weeds prefer nutrient poor soils); and by planting a plethora of desirable plants. By filling the empty spaces with desirable trees, shrubs, perennials and groundcovers, you will eliminate the soil space and sun exposure available for weeds to germinate and multiply.

Flat growing weeds


By seeds and rhizomes, but primarily by underground tubers known as nutlets.

Weed Type:

By seeds and root fragments.

Ground Ivy

  • Pennington UltraGreen Weed and Feed 30-0-4
  • IMAGE All-In-One Weed Killer
  • IMAGE for St. Augustinegrass & Centipedegrass

Broadleaf with many annual and perennial species and seeds that remain viable for many years.

How it Spreads:

Yellow Nutsedge

How it Spreads:

Broadleaf perennial with a shallow taproot and fibrous, expansive root system.

Control: Mulch your garden to prevent lamb’s-quarter. Pull weed plants by hand or use a postemergence herbicide.

Control: Use a preemergence weed preventer ($26, Amazon) to prevent seeds from sprouting, pull plants by hand, or spot-treat with a nonselective herbicide if growing in sidewalk cracks or other places where nothing else is growing.

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Where It Grows: Sunny or shady landscape or garden areas

Where It Grows: Sunny or shady landscape areas

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Test Garden Tip: Thistle has an extensive root system that can grow several feet out from the main plant.